[okfn-discuss] Fwd: News from CRP: OpenSecrets.org goes OpenData

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Mon Apr 27 11:24:27 BST 2009

2009/4/24 Mr. Puneet Kishor <punkish at eidesis.org>:
> On Apr 24, 2009, at 8:09 AM, Rufus Pollock wrote:
>> Should we write to them gently pointing out that this isn't really
>> "open data" and asking them to remove the NC restriction in favour of
>> e.g. Share-Alike. It seems rather disappointing to have a dataset like
>> this with NC restrictions on it ...
> Why even SA?

Because it is clear that the providers of this dataset are concerned
about reuse and redistribution (that is why they chose NC I presume).
In such circumstances, I would imagine SA may be more attractive than
e.g. BY in providing important guarantees that those you share with
will share back (at least in theory -- the question to which any
license open or otherwise is actually observed in practice can vary a

> One thing we all should do, and encourage others to do, is to examine
> *why* we want to impose a license, any license. What good would a
> license on my data do to me? What would a license take away? These are
> important questions, instead of blindly applying a license du jour.

I don't think SA is the "license du jour" and no-one is advocating
blindly applying it. Of course people should think before applying a
license (though if you make people think too much they are likely to
just give up ...)

Aside: And yes I do know the Science Commons views on SA and licensing
generally ;) See my comments at:


And especially on SA:


> If no good purpose is going to be served with SA, why put that
> restriction? If all CRP wants is attribution then perhaps a BY license
> would be good enough.

My point was that (BY-)SA would be an open license (as would be BY)
but that an NC license is not. The differences between (BY-)SA and BY
seem much less important to me than the differences between them and
an NC license. I'd be happy with either of them but it seemed to me
much more likely that given their existing license choice that
opensecrets.org would consider BY-SA than pure BY.


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